32-Year-Old Outfielder – Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
While Gonzalez managed to stay mostly healthy for a third straight season, his production fell off a cliff in his age-31 campaign. Gonzalez managed just 48 total extra-base hits in 534 plate appearanc...
Carlos Gonzalez Contract Information:
Agreed to a seven-year, $80 million contract with the Rockies in January of 2011.
Gonzalez went 2-for-3 with a home run in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Dodgers.
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Carlos Gonzalez: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
It wasn't a mirror image by any means, but Gonzalez posted fairly similar numbers in 2016 to those he put up in his bounce-back 2015 campaign. In the past two seasons, he managed to score the exact same number of runs (87), while also maintaining nearly indistinguishable walk and strikeout rates (even if they were still somewhat unimpressive). Although his decrease in home runs is somewhat troubling (he hit 15 fewer in 2016), the All-Star still hit 42 doubles, drove in 100 runs and notched a 27-point jump in his batting average. Better yet: CarGo managed to stay healthy nearly the entire season outside of a couple of minor wrist and ankle issues. The 31-year-old still adheres to the Coors Field effect (.966 home OPS, .744 road OPS) and his speed isn't what it once was, but there's no denying that he is still a solid contributor when healthy. As long as he continues to play half his games in Denver, Gonzalez should continue to be a reliable OF2.
Gonzalez stayed healthy for the first time in years and set a career high with 153 games played. Just as importantly, he looked healthy when he was on the field, as Gonzalez set a career high with 40 home runs and returned to form after hitting a brutal .238/.292/.431 in 2014. Gonzalez's .540 slugging percentage in 2015 was his best since 2010. It seems like Gonzalez has lost a step, however, as he has just five stolen bases in the past two seasons and hasn't had the ability to run out infield hits like he had in the past. He hit just .271 in 2015, his second-worst mark in his Rockies career, and he hit just .243/.294/.464 on the road. He can still mash deep into the Colorado night, though, as he slugged .617 and homered 24 times at Coors Field. Expect him to do most of his damage there again in 2016.
Gonzalez carried plenty of risk heading into last season, as he was limited to 110 games in 2013 and chose to bypass surgery on a sprained finger that had bothered him throughout the second half. Still, the elite-level production Gonzalez showed when healthy prompted many to bet on the outfielder’s upside, but that gamble never came close to paying off. Gonzalez hit a paltry .258/.311/.458 over the first two months before developing a small tumor in his left index finger in June that resulted in a DL stint. He was never the same after returning in July, batting .188 with a 36.2% strikeout rate over his 69 plate appearances, with his season ultimately ending in August when knee surgery was deemed necessary. While Gonzalez expects to be ready for spring training, his days as an annual 20-steal threat look to be over, and his struggles prior to suffering the finger injury cast doubt on his ability to reemerge as a top-flight hitter as well. The Rockies could explore trading the 29-year-old before his health or skill set deteriorates any further.
Gonzalez was enjoying his best statistical season since his breakout 2010 campaign until a sprained finger cost him a large chunk of time toward the end of the season, marring his final counting numbers. Although Gonzalez’s strikeout rate spiked nearly eight points to 27.1 percent, the more aggressive overall approach helped him successfully reverse the declining power trend he had shown the previous two seasons. It remains to be seen if those power-hitting skills can be maintained after Gonzalez chose to forego surgery on the injured digit in the offseason, but the outfielder’s batting average and steals numbers have otherwise held steady as he’s dealt with an assortment of injuries the last few seasons. Now 28 years old, Gonzalez remains in the prime of his career and could very well submit an MVP-caliber campaign, but injury issues may forever loom as a potential stumbling block. In fact, his injury risk could increase in 2014 with an impending move to center field, likely exposing him to more diving and running defensively. Still, his five-category potential over a full season of health is too enticing to ignore. Gonzalez may be slowed early in spring training after having an appendectomy in mid-January, but he should have enough time to recover and be ready for Opening Day.
If there was any Rockies player who was most hurt by Troy Tulowitzki's 115-game absence last season, it was Gonzalez. After earning an All-Star bid with a .330 average and 17 home runs in the first half, Gonzalez was without Tulowitzki's protection in the lineup for the entire second half, batting .262 with five home runs before being shelved with an injury of his own over the last 10 games. With his co-star back in the fold, Gonzalez could be primed for a return to his superb 2010 numbers, albeit with potentially better plate discipline after he improved his walk rate for the second consecutive season. A huge disparity in home and road splits raises some concern, but it is much less of a problem when Gonzalez produces a 1.072 OPS, as he has averaged over the last three years at Coors Field. Factoring in his ample speed and relative youth, Gonzalez appears a good bet to exceed last season's numbers if health prevails.
Wrist trouble limited Gonzalez to 127 games last season and resulted in diminished counting stats. Fortunately, he had a full offseason to recover and is expected to be 100 percent for the start of spring training. While most owners will focus on the lost homers and steals, consider that Gonzalez actually showed improved plate discipline last season and improved his walk rate from 6.3 to 8.9 percent while making contact more frequently. Just 26, Gonzalez is entering his prime and should be able to make a run at the 30-30 club this season, even if it's unlikely that he will ever hit .336 in a season again as he did in 2010. Further, he continues to benefit from Coors Field, where he now has a career .329/.381/.609 line and 52 of his 77 career homers.
At 24 years old, CarGo had a 2010 season that most major leaguers dream about. He hit 34 homers with 117 RBI, scored 111 runs, stole 26 bases and had a batting line of .336/.376/.598. His 135 strikeouts are concerning, but his strikeout rate (23.0 percent) has been on the decline for two seasons now. It's highly likely that his batting line takes a dip as his 2010 batting average was partially fueled by a .384 BABIP, which is simply unsustainable. Still, his unique blend of power and speed should make him a hot commodity in any fantasy league.
If you target just one Rockie in this year's draft, Gonzalez is your man. He's versatile, durable, consistent and he's got plenty of power and speed to keep fantasy owners as pleased as punch. Gonzalez left Triple-A Colorado Springs hitting .339/.418/.630, with six stolen bases and 10 home runs in 48 games. He was the Rockies' hottest hitter in the playoffs, and he won't have to fight for playing time in 2010. He's not huge, but a 30/20 season isn't an unrealistic expectation.
The A's sent Gonzalez down in August after continued struggles in an attempt to rebuild his confidence, and his disappointing season (.242/.273/.361, 13:81 BB:K in 302 at-bats) made him expendable to the point where he was included in the trade that brought Matt Holliday to Oakland. There's some nice immediate upside going from Oakland to Colorado, though it's not clear if the Rockies will stomach both Dexter Fowler and Gonzalez growing up and struggling at times in the same outfield.
Gonzalez could contend for a starting job with Oakland this summer after coming over to the A's in the Dan Haren deal. A strong showing at Double-A Mobile pushed Gonzalez up to Triple-A Tucson in August, where he continued to drive in runs during his 10-game trial there. At the plate, he could stand to cut back on his strikeouts (36:109 BB:K ratio in 500 at-bats), but considering that he was still just 21 at season's end it shouldn't be much of a concern. Gonzalez is one of the premier hitting outfield prospects in the game and should be on your radar.
Gonzalez is getting by entirely on his tools, which are major-league caliber. He'll need to develop his skills and become better at applying his physical talents if he's to succeed at the upper levels. A full season at Double-A will tell us a lot. Excellent reserve pick.